Planning a lesson using my MAET Lense required me to think a little differently than I usually do. I typically do try to plan lessons that are engaging, collaborative, and hands-on. However, incorporating more technology than I normally do had me think with a different mindset. Although a bit uncomfortable at first, this mindset is one that I plan to continue to use when planning my future lessons.
The practice that I am referring to is called TPACK. “If educators are to repurpose tools and integrate them into their teaching, they require a specific kind of knowledge that we call technological pedagogical and content knowledge (TPACK)” (Mishra & Koehler, 2009). TPACK is a part of this MAET Lens that I am looking through. TPACK is all about connecting your technological knowledge, content knowledge (the subject you’re teaching), and pedagogical knowledge (how you teach it).
Let me give you a bit of a glimpse into my thought process when planning my introductory lesson to a 2nd grade social studies lesson about communities.
In the book I’m currently reading, A More Beautiful Question by Warren Berger, he discusses the Right Question Institute’s “Question Formulating Technique”. The rules are simple, “write each question down, don’t debate or try to answer questions, just keep trying to think of more questions” (Berger, 2016, p. 61). Basically, students come up with as many questions as possible that is in regards to the topic (which staying on the topic can sometimes be challenging for 2nd grade students!). The point is to question and not to answer.
The reasoning behind starting my unit this way is because “in this class, and in others where the Right Question Institute’s technique has been tried, a high level of engagement among students has been observed” (Berger, 2016, p. 62). Since this lesson is intended for the beginning of the unit, I wanted to give students an opportunity to get all of their initial thoughts and questions out there. I felt that by giving them the opportunity to question, it would help make them excited to answer those questions through their learning in this unit.
After getting our questions about the content out there, I wanted to introduce the vocabulary of urban, suburban, and rural communities. I decided to do that through a YouTube video because I liked the idea of giving student the opportunity to see real-life visuals of what these communities look like. Since the video is a bit long, I have decided to chunk it by having students turn and talk to one another after each community is introduced. This not only helps to chunk the video, but helps to keep kids engaged and share their thinking with another classmate.
In order to make student thinking even more visible, students will work with a partner to create a Popplet for either an urban, suburban, or rural community. I chose Popplet to use because it is extremely user-friendly, and especially easy for kids to use. Since this program allows student to make a mind map, I felt it would be an appropriate tool to use for mapping out what each community might look like. The program allows students to use pictures or text to organize their ideas. This is what I want them to do when it comes to thinking about the characteristics of a particular community. Using Popplet is a great way to incorporate technology in a practical way when it comes to this lesson.
Like anything else that’s new, it takes time to become good. When it comes to using my MAET Lens, including everything I’ve learned about TPACK, the more I use it, the better I’ll become. The same goes for you, and my hope is that my lesson plan is a helpful tool to help you look through these lenses too.
Berger, W. (2016). A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas. New York: Bloomsbury.
Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. (2009). Too Cool for School? No Way! International Society for Technology in Education. Retrieved August 4, 2017.